I was disappointed that the author who “covered” a protest held by the New York Communities For Change, along with the fine members of the Shinnecock Nation, did not accurately report the truth in regard to beach access in the Village of Southampton [“Shinnecock Demand Free Access At Coopers Beach Rally; Protest At Town Hall Focuses On Saving Land,” 27east.com, July 9].
The article states that the issue being addressed is that Southampton Village is not giving “free (beach) access” to the members of the Shinnecock Nation. What the article did not clarify was that all of our village beaches are free and open to all comers, including members of the Shinnecock Nation — and there also is unrestricted parking at some other beach parking lots besides Coopers Beach, where the protest took place, such as the Road D lot. There is also parking available in several areas that are close to our beaches, in the village and in the town, and at the county inlet park at the end of Meadow Lane.
Village homeowners and residents do have stickers for some beach lots, as do town residents for other parking lots, and Suffolk County residents for yet other lots — but the village stickers are not “free,” as village property owners pay for them with village taxes, which help to cover the more than $250,000 that it costs to maintain Coopers Beach and the other village beach parking lots. The article’s author could have found this out and reported these costs with a simple call to the Parks Department.
Also not disclosed in the article is that there is regular reduced fare bus service on Meeting House Lane, which takes passengers very close to Old Town Beach (and unrestricted parking spaces on Old Town Road), and what seems to be the majority of our beach users actually walk and bike to the beaches from the center of town, or get dropped off, as the beach lots are often full.
I was further disappointed that The Press followed up on this badly executed front-page article with an editorial [“Gold Stars And Dunce Caps,” July 14], which also did not consider all of the facts surrounding beach access, and even gave a “dunce cap” to the village not permitting “access to Coopers Beach,” when, again, no one has ever been denied access to Coopers or any other beaches in Southampton Village.
This kind of reporting and editorializing only serves to divide us and is not worthy of The Southampton Press, which for many years had fair and well-researched articles and editorials that brought us all together. We are all one.
One fine body…